The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, has assured that President Muhammadu Buhari-led government will abide by the final court judgment on the ongoing Value Added Tax (VAT) legal tussle between the states and Federal Inland Revenue Service .
Adesina, who gave the assurance when he appeared on a live current affairs programme on Arise Television, This Day Live, however, pointed out that matter may not be finalized until the Supreme Court makes a ruling on it.
The presidential spokesman while reacting to a question on the matter, which had generated serious anxieties in the past three weeks, flawed some critics picking holes in the just released audited financial statements and the declared profit after tax (PAT) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), rather than appreciating the maiden publication of the report as a healthy development in the nation’s fiscal system.
Linking the raging controversy over the VAT collection as a reflection of recent agitations by some people for fiscal federalism, Adesina pointed out that as desirable as the agitations remained, the campaign for fiscal federalism must be done within the ambits of the law.
He said: “I think the VAT issue is good because there have been talks about restructuring and fiscal federalism in the country. If states eventually get their demands in respect of VAT, there will be something like fulfilling fiscal federalism. But then, fiscal federalism itself must be done within the ambits of the law.
“That is why this issue may, and will likely, end up in the Supreme Court and when the Supreme Court pronounces, that is what the law says. If it’s in favour of the states, fine. If it’s in favour of the federal government, fine. You know that even all these states are not unanimous.
“You have heard some governors speaking out against the position of certain states who are so militant on this VAT issue.
“So, eventually, we will have a legal pronouncement, which may come from the highest court in the land and whatever that court says, then is the law in the country. Knowing the Buhari administration, it will obey the rule of law”, Adesina assured.